Friday, September 28, 2007
The Oldest Profession
OK, so I watched 'Secret Diary of a Call Girl' on ITV 2 last night. And I thought it was good, entertaining and all. What really annoyed me, though, was a few days ago, the prudes on BBC 2's Newsnight reviewed the show negatively; the only reason given for this was that the show glamorised prostitution and, basically, wasn't about crack whores. I live in Highfields. If I wanted to watch drama involving crack whores, I'd just look out of my window. The only woman on Newsnight as part of the reviewing panel (over 50, upper-middle class) was complaining because it wasn't about 'reality' and apparently portrayed the male-fantasy version of prostitution, rather than how it "really is" for the 90-odd% of working girls out there. Let's skip over the fact that the programme is based on a true story. All TV shows, movies, etc are glamorised to some extent. Archaeologists don't all look like Harrison Ford. Men don't all have fifteen-inch penises, like they do in porn films. Prostitutes don't all work in safe, controlled environments, drug- and pimp-free. But isn't that how it should be? Perhaps not the 15 inchers or Harrison Ford, but I mean safe and clean and as unexploitative as possible. If prostitution was legalised, then at least it would get some of these "90-odd%" women off the streets. Legal brothels would mean the girls would get regular health checks, help with drug rehabilitation, lodgings and clothes. It would be safer. And some of these women wouldn't then be exploited by men for drugs and money, they would be the ones doing the exploiting, because they would be trading sex for cash on their own terms. And I want to point out that just because I'm pro-legalised prostitution, that doesn't mean I'm pro-infidelity, but at least you would know that if your future bloke had been with a pro in the past, they were clean and healthy and it was purely a business transaction, and wasn't funding drugs trafficking and terrorism (like pirate DVDs do…). I know the argument above is somewhat naïve, but surely it is acceptable for TV to show how the minority live, as well as the majority, and also highlight how things could be improved? I don't think they have any right to write off a TV show because it's not about prostitution as us Highfields-survivors know it (and I'm sure the woman from the Beeb has probably met more prostitutes like Belle de Jour than the girls who used to work my street corner and leave used condoms for me to clean up down the alleyway to my front door). I am thoroughly prepared for people to comment and disagree (and fair enough if you thought the show was crap!); we're all entitled to our opinions and this is just mine.